You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Abraham-men, beggars who counterfeited lunacy (named after one of the wards in Bedlam)

amphibological, ambiguous

balloon, a kind of football

Bavarian chin, or poke, goitre

ceruse, white lead used as a cosmetic

cockney-like, effeminate

cushion dance, a lively, romping dance, in which a cushion figured

dizzard, a blockhead

ethnics, heathens, pagans

fox, to intoxicate

fustilugs, "a sluttish woman who smells rank"

gubber-tushed, with irregularly projecting teeth

Indy-bone, ivory

metoposcopy, the art of discovering character from the lines of the face, especially the forehead

morphew, a scurfy eruption

noise, a band (of musicians)

pickitivant, a pointed beard

salvatella, the vein that runs into the little finger

smell-feast, a parasite, sponger

theologaster, a petty or contemptible theologian

trenchmore, a lively, romping dance

urchin, a hedgehog

woolward, wearing wool next to the skin, for penance

by Robert Burton (1577 - 1630)
New York Review Books (2001)

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